The success of the Minimum Common Programme will be dependent on the regional cooperative mechanisms and structures that support it. The Strategy and Action Plan also identifies several strategies and activities that need to be undertaken to support the implementation of the Programme.
A. Institutional support
A multi-pronged approach is being taken to provide the institutional support at the national and regional levels. The major objective is to create an environment conducive to partnership between government, R and D organizations, educational institutions and industry. The terms of reference for the regional working groups and Intergovernmental Consultative Committee of RESAP have been amended to allow for increased involvement of the private sector and academia. At the regional level, ESCAP will continue to organize and coordinate the implementation of the Minimum Common Programme, with assistance from members and associate members that participate in RESAP. The enhanced use of space technologies by the Commission and its secretariat would set an example, underscoring the relevance of space technology in regional and national development.
Institutional support for the Minimum Common Programme could also be provided by promoting and enhancing the integration of space applications with development planning. More specifically, the Strategy and Action Plan recommend introducing space technology applications to develop a spatial information network for sound decision-making on projects, their planning and implementation, and making these an integral element of selected projects. Essentially, this activity requires the appropriate use of space technology applications in meeting national needs and in generating information useful for the different stages of the development planning process.
It is acknowledged that full realization of space development in the region will be accelerated and made more equitable through an effective regional cooperative mechanism. Towards this end, continuing efforts aimed at strengthening institutional arrangements and harmonizing regional initiatives are seen to further strengthen regional cooperation and lend a stronger regional presence to global space affairs.
The Strategy and Action Plan identify several mechanisms by which funding support could be generated for the implementation of activities under RESAP at both the national and regional levels. At the regional and international levels, efforts are focused on identifying partners for implementing projects under the Minimum Common Programme. The Strategy and Action Plan identify several mechanisms by which funding support could be achieved for implementing RESAP at both the national and regional levels. Options at the regional level include generic cash or in-kind contributions by donors, members and associate members, possibly in conjunction with a trust fund along the lines of that of the Typhoon Committee, and project-specific support from donors, members or associate members. At the national level, potential funding modalities include government grants specifically for space technology, applications, education and training; project-specific grants; funds identified for space applications within larger national projects; earnings from commercial space activities; and grants or loans from United Nations organizations or international development institutions. In consonance with shifting development paradigms and the new focus in the policy strategies of funding institutions and development agencies, the Strategy and Action Plan recommend the preparation of projects on themes prioritized by these agencies. Relevant departments of various countries are encouraged to prepare viable project proposals that address problems related to education, food, poverty and the environment, among other issues, and to take these up with UNDP or other institutions for funding support. The following examples provide added indications as to the possibilities of dovetailing projects under the Minimum Common Programme with regional and international projects and programmes.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has, in the past year, approved a new poverty reduction strategy to help eradicate extreme poverty from Asia and the Pacific. Its previous strategic objectives, such as promoting economic growth, improving the status of women, protecting the environment, and developing human resources, will now be redirected towards poverty reduction. Future projects funded by ADB are expected to show that they benefit large numbers of poor people in the region directly or indirectly. ADB finances approximately US$ 6 billion worth of projects and programmes annually. With the shift in its strategy, at least 40 per cent of all public sector lending will be for poverty interventions.
Following the World Food Summit held at Rome in 1996, in which world leaders made a commitment to halve the number of the world's hungry by 2015, FAO is implementing the Special Programme for Food Security to raise and stabilize food production in low-income, food-deficit countries, increase farmers' incomes, and generate rural employment. The programme is implemented in 50 countries, including 12 in Asia and the Pacific.
The World Bank has also shifted gears and now operates on a holistic approach to development, which accepts social issues of education, health and livelihood, as well as structural improvements. Another recent innovation at the World Bank is redefining "developed" and "developing" countries into countries that are "well managed" and "not well managed", whether they are developing or not. Such a policy has profound implications for the national governance of countries. Under the Bank's present terms, good governance is essential for any sustained development. In addition, the Bank also sees IT, especially the Internet, as the biggest single change on the global development scene. According to its current President, the Internet can bring the benefits of development to the most remote areas in the world, and help level the global playing field by providing access to information even at the village or individual level.
Policy-related support mechanisms can come in various forms. At the regional level, ESCAP is being given a mandate for a set of activities to execute RESAP II and to coordinate the work at the regional and national levels so as to bring about synergy and minimize duplication, idle capacity and the waste of resources. To complement the ESCAP mandate for stronger partnerships between government R and D organizations, educational institutions and the industrial sector, countries are expected to implement suitable policies that would bring about a close partnership between the government and the private sector industry for affordable and user-friendly services to the community.
Governments at the national level are encouraged to establish national coordination mechanisms that would coordinate space projects, arrange funding support and formulate policies for promoting space applications. Drawing lessons from the pitfalls of previous technology-oriented programmes, national policies should now be adopted to enable the reorientation of space activities from technology-push to application-driven.
It is acknowledged that existing regional and international collaborative projects and actions will also play a vital role in a comprehensive regional space programme, and thus should be closely linked or interfaced with the projects and activities of the Minimum Common Programme. In addition, the various recommendations endorsed by the Delhi Declaration and the Strategy and Action Plan will serve as an important base reference for the implementation of the Programme.